HANOI, Vietnam (AP) – High school students returned to their classrooms in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi on Monday for the first time in more than six months as the city eases restrictions on coronaviruses.
Only 50% of normal school attendance will be allowed to reduce the risk of infections, so students will spend alternate days attending classes in person and online, according to an announcement by authorities in the capital.
âI am very happy and excited to be going back to school after such a long time. This is my last year in school and I treasure the time spent with my teachers and friends at school, rather than on the computer screen at home, âsaid 12th grade student Han Binh Huy. at Tran Nhan Tong High School.
Only seniors have been allowed to return as they prepare for a critical national exam in June which determines whether they can enter universities.
âWe have a very serious exam coming up and being able to go to school will help me a lot. The teachers will be there with us directly to make our learning more effective, âsaid Huy’s classmate Nguyen Duc Quang.
âI hope that the pandemic will be under control soon and that we are fully immunized so that we can focus on learning and preparing for the exam,â Quang said.
Students must wear masks and have their temperature taken, and are not allowed to leave their classrooms until the end of the school day.
Classes are also streamed live for students in quarantine or who wish to stay at home.
âThe school has prepared protective measures for the health safety of our students. Medical equipment, automatic thermal scanners and hand sanitizers are available in all classrooms. We also regularly inform students and their parents about new regulations and safety protocols, âsaid school principal Vu Thi Hau.
Hanoi is one of the few cities to allow the return of classrooms. Vietnam closed schools and other educational institutions in May when the virus emerged, leading to the country’s worst outbreak.
Since then, the virus, fueled by the delta variant, has infected 1.3 million people and killed more than 26,000.
The outbreak has forced more than half of the country into complete lockdown. Restrictions began to be relaxed in October when infection rates fell and more people were vaccinated.
Hanoi, a city of 8 million people, is now seeing a slight increase in COVID-19 cases due to the relaxed restrictions.
Last month, the city began immunizing young people between the ages of 12 and 17 in anticipation of schools reopening. Students are expected to receive a second injection in December.
After a slow start, Vietnam is stepping up its vaccination program. According to the Ministry of Health, 54 million of its 98 million inhabitants have been fully vaccinated. The country plans to give booster shots later this month to frontline workers and the elderly.